By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Saturday, July 18, hundreds of protestors waving Confederate flags and wearing pro-confederate apparel came to rally for their Southern heritage and the Confederate Veterans monument in Linn Park that the Birmingham Parks and Recreation Board wants to remove from the heart of Birmingham’s largest city. Black pro-Confederate flag activist and author Anthony Hervey from Oxford, Mississippi, spoke at the event for his love of Southern culture. On Sunday, Hervey was killed in a traffic accident in Mississippi. The accident is still under investigation.
Anthony Hervey addressed the gathered crowd for the “Monumental Dixie Rally”. Hervey told the people present there were no millionaire lawyers and businessmen standing with them today; because they are embarrassed to associate with working class Whites but when they need southern boys, White southern boys and Black Southern boys, to fight their wars they come to us. Then when we come back home they limit our Freedom of speech and perpetuate an erosion of our gun rights.
Hervey said, “You know a Southerner by the look in their eyes! You look around, you don’t see the rich people among you. This is an assault, today, on working class people. I can get up here with my Ivy League Education and give you big ol’ words, but I’m a country boy, and if you’re breath stinks, I’m gonna tell you. Liberals! Your Breath STINKS!”
Hervey, who is a veteran himself, described himself as a “Black redneck” and said that he, “Loved my White redneck brothers.”
Hervey is among a small group of Black activists who have come out in support of Confederate history. Hervey said that an ancestor of his died for the Confederate States of America at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.
Karl Andreas Bodenheimer warned the crowd that political correctness is what is going to kill us. “Why can’t we say all lives matter?” Those people in Washington want to split and divide us so they can conquer us. There are three reasons for us holding rallies like us: They think by attacking our heritage they can divide us. We need to come together. There are two sides to this fight protect our heritage and move forward. The second is to educate. Those that are stealing our flags from our homes there is no hope for them. They have been lost to our educational system. There are others who will listen and them we can educate that this is what our ancestors were fighting for 150 years ago: our freedoms. Finally we need people to step forward and run for office. I am broke and I can’t afford a campaign and I am not going to be beholden to somebody who will front me the money. But I am going to run anyway. Y’all need to quit being Facebook warriors and step up and run for office too.
Bodenheimer said there are two differences between me and Obama: He don’t know where he came from. He thinks it is Hawaii. I know where I come from. I come from Alabama. He tells so many lies he can’t remember what he told. I tell the truth.
Bodenheimer said I have ancestors who were buried in mass unmarked graves by the federal government. These are our monuments. These are our memorials.
Economics Professor and former Libertarian candidate for Governor John Sophocleus quoted Irish born Confederate Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne: “Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision… It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.”
Sophocleus said that we just celebrated the anniversary of the Magna Carta. The rebel barons made the king sign that there would be no taxation without common consent. That is what gave us the House of Commons. Today’s students aren’t taught this. Why did the South fire on Fort Sumter? Because that is where the customs officials collected the tariffs. When I first started teaching college four or five students in a class would already know this. Now none of them do. Why did Sam Adams charge the customs house? Because that is where the money was. Students today just now that Sam Adams brewed beer. Who passed the first income tax? Lincoln and the Republicans.
Professor Sophocleus said, you are fighting against subjugation. Stand together for freedom. They are trying to take down a flags and monuments for brave soldiers who died standing up against an invasion. There is nothing more honorable than defending your homeland against an invading army.
The longtime Auburn Professor said that under the Articles of Confederation, 99.2% of federal government revenues came from tariffs. The rest of that came in from gifts to the treasury. If people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet think they are undertaxed fine they can give gifts to the treasury if they want. At the Battle of Marathon the Greeks defeated the giant Persian Empire who wanted to subjugate them. The Olympics are a celebration of that victory. In the beginning of the Civil War the 6th Massachusetts came into Maryland and attacked mass demonstrations of the people of Maryland. Massachusetts committed an act of war against another state. They don’t teach that anymore. Do you think it is going to end?
Dr. Sophocleus asked, Can you imagine how better our economy would be without the income tax? All the cost of doing business in the states is embedding in our exports and we wonder why we struggle to sell our exports?
Sophocleus said that in 1828 tariffs more than tripled to 28 percent. Southern states threatened to secede. Civil War was threatened; but cooler heads prevailed and they backed off. Slavery was just a pretense. Lincoln and the Republicans wanted to raise the tariff from 20 percent to 28 percent. Therein lies the cause of the war. Schools don’t teach that to our kids anymore.
Sophocleus said that the 16th amendment allowed the federal government to start collecting income taxes. The South was just starting to recover from the Civil War and Reconstruction, then the combination of tariffs and income taxes created the Great Depression. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected and liberals like to tell you he saved the world; but FDR did nothing to give you tariff relief.
Arlene Barnum came and announced that she was quitting her job with the NAACP over their Confederate flag position. Barnum delighted the crowd by burning her NAACP lifetime membership card. Barnum said, “They are the real racists.”
Hk Edgerton, NAACP Chapter President turned pro-Confederate flag activist also spoke to the crowd about his life experience and about being Black and pro-Confederate flag.
The Birmingham Park and Recreation Board is demanding that Southern Heritage supporters pay for the cost of moving the historic memorial to Alabama’s Confederate Veterans or they will destroy it.
State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) has introduced legislation to prevent government entities from punishing monuments that they don’t find politically correct any more. It is not known at this time if the legislation will pass in the Special Session of the Alabama Legislature or not and if it does pass will it pass in time to save the monument in Linn Park.
Afterwards, Bodenheimer wrote: I want to thank everyone who came out and supported us today in Birmingham. I really want to thank Deanna, Julie, Robin, Amanda, and Sherri for all your hard work. I want to thank John Sophocles, Calvin Wright, Arlene Barnum, Hk Edgerton, and Anthony Hervey plus the many others who spoke: William Flowers, Rayn Owens, Justin Burton, Bill, Shannon Fontaine, and many others. Pat thank y’all for the extra security and being eyes and ears. Robert Snapp thank you for your help and your music! Curt Brewer and Jonathan Barbee thank you for the sound, the organization, and other things. Thank you Wendy Osborne for the Graphics this past week! The list is long folks but thank you everyone!”
Then things turned tragic on Sunday, July 19: Save Our South and the Alabama Constitutional Patriots held a joint press conference to announce that Anthony Hervey never made it back home. He died in an automobile crash in Mississippi. Arlene Barnum was with him at the time. Barnum who suffered injuries herself claimed that they were being chased by four or five Black men in a car at the time when Hervey lost control of Barnum’s 2005 Ford Explorer. The Mississippi State Highway Patrol is still investigating the SUV roll over.
Karl Andreas Bodenheimer wrote to Anthony Hervey on Facebook: “Thank you Brother for sharing your life with me Friday Night and Saturday. I invited you to Birmingham because I knew you could help us change the world with Ms Arlene Barnum, Mr Calvin Wright, Mr John Sophocleus, and Mr Hk Edgerton, and guess what, You did. I never once in a million lifetimes could have imagined meeting such a BRAVE and PASSIONATE Confederate anymore than I, but you proved me wrong. I do hope you’re sitting next to God and watching over us. I pray for your wife and your family. You were loved by many and will be missed with the utmost love and respect. Thank you Anthony for making MY life a lot brighter in the short time I knew you.”
Deanna Frankowski with the Alabama Constitutional Conservatives said that Hervey’s wife who was in London to attend her Mother’s funeral found out about her husband’s death on her Facebook feed. Frankowski said that she met Mr. Hervey for the first time yesterday; but was impressed by his knowledge and his willingness to reach across racial lines, “Because we have got to come together.”
Hervey studied Black Studies and Sociology at Ole Miss. He also studied Political Science and Sociology at the University of London. He was enrolled in graduate courses at Harvard and has a book that he was working on about he became a “Black Redneck.” Hervey is also the author of the 2006 book: ‘Why I Wave the Confederate Flag: Written by a Black Man.’ He also co-wrote, ‘Dawning of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.’
Hervey’s last words to the group were, “I wanna thank you for having this ol’ black redneck from Mississippi…I love you and I would Die for you.”
Tuberville calls for term limits, balanced budget and lobbying reform
Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.
Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville’s campaign began emphasizing key structural reforms that the Republican nominee hopes to advance if elected to the U.S. Senate including congressional term limits, withholding lawmakers’ paychecks unless a balanced budget is passed and a ban on former officials becoming lobbyists.
“Only an outsider like me can help President Trump drain the Swamp, and any of the proposals outlined in this ad will begin the process of pulling the plug,” Tuberville said in a statement. “Doug Jones has had his chance, and he failed our state, so now it’s time to elect a senator who will work to fundamentally change the way that Washington operates.”
Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.
“You know Washington politicians could learn a lot from the folks in small town Alabama, but Doug Jones … he’s too liberal to teach them,” Tuberville added.
Polls consistently show that term limits are popular with people across both political parties, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that imposing term limits would be adding a qualification to be a member of Congress and that can only be done by constitutional amendment.
It is an unspoken truth that when Americans send someone to Congress they never come back. They either keep getting re-elected like Alabama’s own Sen. Richard Shelby, who is in his sixth term in the Senate after four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the other hand, they may become lobbyists getting paid to influence their colleagues on behalf of corporations, foreign governments or some well funded non-government organization.
Tuberville said he would ban that practice.
A balanced budget amendment almost passed in the 1980s and again in the 1990s.
Since that failure, Congress has increasingly passed bigger and bigger budget deficits. The U.S. government borrowed more money during the eight years of President George W. Bush’s presidency than the government had borrowed in the first 224 years of the country combined.
President Barack Obama followed and the TARP program propped up the post-Great Recession economy. Rather than cutting the deficit, President Donald Trump invested billions in the military and a tax cut without cutting domestic spending. The 2020 coronavirus crisis has further grown the budget.
The government has borrowed trillions to prop up the economy and provide stimulus while investing billions into medical research and treating the virus victims. Congress is currently debating a fifth stimulus package that would add more to the deficit.
Both a balanced budget amendment and a term limits amendment would have to be ratified by the states if passed by Congress. Tuberville is challenging incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.
House passes General Fund Budget
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.
The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.
Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”
Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.
The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.
Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.
Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.
The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.
Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.
The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.
Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.
The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.
In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.
SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.
Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”
State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”
The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.
The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.
The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.
The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.
Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.
SB185 passed 101-0.
Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.
Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1 for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.
SB215 passed the House 87-0.
The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.
State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.
SB231 passed 87-2.
The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.
The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.
The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.
Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.
Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.
Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.
Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday
By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.
Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.
Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.
The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.
Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.
Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.
Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.
Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.
Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.
Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.
The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.
Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.
It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.
Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor
By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.
The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.
Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.
Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.
Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.
- Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)
Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.
Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.
The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.
Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.